how to fix a crack in the wall with idle time

It’s been two weeks since I first sighted the drip in the ceiling. Eleven days. And where did the time go? As you can imagine, I’ve spent a lot of time waiting … waiting for people to call me back, waiting for roofers and their project managers to arrive, and then inspect the damage. Nine companies in all. That number may seem excessive but the second roofer noticed a sizable crack in one of the exterior walls that ran from the parapet to the seam of the building below and so I added concrete masons to the list, too. And so the waiting continues, this time for estimates of the work.

In the downtime I’ve been poring over the condo by-laws to determine liabilities, the shared responsibility of cost, and what I, as a limited common element holder, am responsible for paying on my own. Next, I have to contact the insurance companies, my own and that of our building association to determine if our coverage will offset the cost. Then I get to analyze the requests and make a recommendation to my fellow owners of next steps. Sigh.

It feels like work because it is work. And if you are like me, where you believe in doing things by the book, so hopefully there won’t be a next time, you put in the effort when and where it’s needed. It’s a lot for one person to manage, and let’s be honest, is mentally exhausting.

Mentally exhausting. Sigh.

The irony is that I had planned to be on a mental vacation in sunny California these last few weeks, and instead found myself stranded in an overcast city with an albatross around my neck. These are first world problems, I realize. But I can’t help feeling cheated because I know I needed a break, a change of scenery and I didn’t get either. And because I wasn’t supposed to be here, I didn’t have anything else planned, so a lot of my time outside of my work assignments has been idle. I hate feeling as if I’m wasting time.

Luckily when you have an open canvas of time, you also have an opportunity to be spontaneous and say yes to the unexpected. Things like an extra ticket to see Hamilton: An American Musical, celebrating a friend’s birthday at a speakeasy on a snowy Saturday night, or meeting new friends for an afternoon lunch in Brighton Beach. Tomorrow I’ll be attending the Athena Film Festival to see the foreign film Soufra, and Sunday an old friend and I will catch up over lunch with a visit to a literary exhibit at The Morgan Library.

It’s a mini stayvacation in a missed vacation of idle time.


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